Two Northland beekeepers have offered rewards totalling $8000
for tip-offs leading to the conviction of saboteurs and
thieves attacking their hives.
John Whitehead, of Kerikeri, is offering $5000 for
information on the poisoning of about 90 hives on four sites
along Paponga Rd, near Broadwood.
And Lindsay Guest, of Kohukohu, has $3000 to reward someone
who will tell him who stole 17 hives and tipped seven others
over at the Skyline Hill on the West Coast Rd.
Police are investigating both incidents in an industry that
is becoming increasingly competitive as prices for
top-quality manuka honey rise to a massive $400-plus a
Mr Whitehead said almost four million bees in his hives were
"The bees were slaughtered and left as a stinking, rotting
mess," he said.
The Paponga Rd hives had been attacked some time between
September 17 and October 9.
"Whoever did it must have had a [beekeeper's] suit and tool
to open the hives," Mr Whitehead said.
Meanwhile, Whangarei Bee Club president Kevin Wallace said
yesterday fights between commercial honey producers had been
"getting really bad" in the Far North but he was dismayed to
hear about the poisoning.
The disputes were about rights to site hives close to large
stands of manuka to product honey with "unique manuka
"There used to be an unwritten rule that hive sites should be
about 2km apart, but the sites are now almost on top of each
other," Mr Wallace said.
Government agencies lacked the resources to deal with
increasing hive attacks, he said.
Mr Whitehead suspected "someone wanting to take over my
sites" was a possible reason for the poisoning.
Anyone with information can call him on 021 439 623.
Mr Guest said 17 hives had been stolen and others tipped over
between 8pm on October 21 and 7am on October 22. Anyone with
information can phone him on 09 405 2275 or write to his
father, Bill Guest, at RD2 Kohukohu 0492.
- By Mike Barrington of The Northern Advocate